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Conjugal Union
What Marriage Is and Why It Matters

  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107059924


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About the Authors
  • This book defends the conjugal view of marriage. Patrick Lee and Robert P. George argue that marriage is a distinctive type of community: the union of a man and a woman who have committed to sharing their lives on every level of their beings (bodily, emotionally, and spiritually) in the kind of union that would be fulfilled by conceiving and rearing children together. The comprehensive nature of this union, and its intrinsic orientation to procreation as its natural fulfillment, distinguishes marriage from other types of community and provides the basis for the norms of marital exclusivity and permanence. Lee and George detail how the basic moral norms regarding sexual acts follow from the ethical requirement to respect the good of marriage and explain how the law should treat marriage, given its conjugal nature, examining both the same-sex-marriage issue and civil divorce.

    • Philosophically defends the traditional concept of marriage using non-traditional philosophical arguments
    • Develops the new natural law view of marriage and the moral norms for sexuality that it implies
    • Addresses, from a new natural law standpoint, the legal issues regarding marriage as between a man and a woman and the permanence and exclusivity of marriage
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book explains, defends, and promotes a traditional ('conjugal') idea of marriage with philosophical, non-faith-based arguments that also indicate why same-sex marriage is not marriage and why no-fault divorce law is incompatible with the institution of marriage. The authors give a clear and significant philosophical exposition of what's wrong with the ideas of marriage that have been developed in the literature (including court judgments) favoring same-sex marriage.' John Finnis, University of Oxford

    'Patrick Lee and Robert George add a profound historical and philosophical dimension to the sociological data on the importance of marriage as a social institution. Their careful analysis, dealing fairly and sympathetically with the best arguments from a point of view different from theirs, makes this book highly relevant to current debates. It should be welcomed by thoughtful persons who are in no way prejudiced against individuals with same-sex orientation, but who find something wrong with the argument for same-sex marriage based on equal access to the institution of marriage.' Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University, Massachusetts

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107059924
    • length: 152 pages
    • dimensions: 218 x 147 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Human nature and morality
    3. What marriage is
    4. Sex outside marriage
    5. Marriage and the law.

  • Authors

    Patrick Lee, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio
    Patrick Lee is the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics and director of the Institute of Bioethics at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Lee is the author of Abortion and Unborn Human Life (2010) and Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics with Robert P. George (Cambridge, 2007). He has served on the executive boards of the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. His articles and review essays have appeared in the American Journal of Jurisprudence, Bioethics, Faith and Philosophy, The Monist, Philosophy, International Philosophical Quarterly, the Linacre Quarterly, the Review of Metaphysics, and American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, as well as popular journals and online magazines such as Public Discourse, New Atlantis, National Review Online, and First Things.

    Robert P. George, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has served on the US President's Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the US Commission on Civil Rights. He is currently chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. He is a former Judicial Fellow of the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. His authored publications include Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (1993); In Defense of Natural Law (1999); and What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, with Sherif Girgis and Ryan T. Anderson (2012). His articles and review essays have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Review of Politics, the Review of Metaphysics, and the American Journal of Jurisprudence. He has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, First Things, the Boston Review, The New Criterion, and the Times Literary Supplement.

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